Jack Clay is known for his love of all things historic. His wife, Ann, had a passion for sewing. A few years ago they worked together in combining the two hobbies.
In 1995 Ann Clay began working on a quilt that would use a special process called blueprinting. This photographic art is the &#8220simplest and one of the most permanent of all photographic processes,” according to the manufacturer of the material.
It involves taking a negative of a photograph – or in the case of the Clay’s quilt postcards from the area – and placing the negative on a special muslin and topping it with a piece of glass. The muslin is then placed out in the sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes, forever affixing that image on the material.
&#8220One of Ann’s passions was to sew. She had been a seamstress for most of her life. In her later years she began to take up quilting,” said Clay.
While he acknowledges the quilt was mostly her project, it was his postcard collection that would be the highlight.
&#8220I helped her put the postcards on the material. Ninety-nine percent of the postcards are from St. Francois County,” he said.
When Ann became ill in 1998 the work stopped on the quilt. While the postcard images had been placed on the muslin, it had not yet been bound together. Ann later died in 1999 and the quilt sat in the Clay’s home until this year.
Jack credits the work of Myrtle Gegg, a volunteer in the genealogy department with Clay at the Farmington Library, who took on the task of working to complete Ann’s quilt. Gegg bound the quilt and the Ladies Aid Society at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church took the time to put the finishing quilting touches on the work.
The quilt now hangs in the lobby of the Farmington Public Library, along with a story of how it got there just as inspiring as the pictures depicted on the quilt itself.
Plans call for the quilt to remain hanging at the library. A special note has been placed near the quilt which tells about each of the postcards.
&#8220It’s different,” says Clay about the quilt. &#8220A lot of people have (expressed) an interest in it.”
He says the collecting of postcards has been a very popular passion for a number of people lately. He is proud to have this special work hanging for all to enjoy.
&#8220Ann and I enjoyed our time we spent (on the quilt). Before she started on this one, she made a quilt that was donated to the American Cancer Society to sell as a fund-raiser. She was quite a seamstress,” said Clay.